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My Colostomy and Me!

1 August, 2014

In August last year (2013) I had a colostomy and it is the best thing I have done in the three years since my SCI.

While I was in rehab my bowel worked like clockwork, then after being home about six months I ended up in hospital with a bowel impaction. Things never returned to normal after that and I could not establish a routine. As a result of this I had no certainty of when my bowel would work and I started having bowel accidents. This got steadily worse until I could only leave the house for very short periods of time. 

"One of my main concerns was how my skin would react to wearing a bag. I have an adverse reaction to some adhesives and wondered what would happen when the adhesive was permanently in the same place."

I think I researched a colostomy for about twelve months before I actually took steps to have the surgery. No one seemed to be really enthusiastic about it until I involved my GP, the surgeon and the stoma nurses. The internet did not give a positive picture especially from the blogs I accessed.

One of my main concerns was how my skin would react to wearing a bag. I have an adverse reaction to some adhesives and wondered what would happen when the adhesive was permanently in the same place. My stoma nurse helped out here by giving me various bags to wear for days at a time before the surgery. I need not have worried. I have had no reaction to the adhesive.

When I was discharged from hospital my stoma nurse provided almost daily help, this continued until I was quite comfortable in managing on my own. Before my colostomy I found the regime of daily suppositories and increasing lack of control to be highly intrusive and it made me more dependent on others.

Since having my colostomy surgery  I have regained my independence, lost the anxiety that had become a part of my life, and regained my social life. Every so often I stop and wonder at the decision I made that would affect the rest of my life, but then I think back to how life was and I have no doubt that I made the right decision. I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling the way I was.

"Since having my colostomy surgery I have regained my independence, lost the anxiety that had become a part of my life, and regained my social life... I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling the way I was."

Kate McGrath is a Ballarat woman living on a little corner of heaven, with large gum trees, cattle, koalas, birds and wildlife. She has lived with T4 spinal cord injury since 2011.

Tags: Blog, Health & Wellbeing